Importance of Plants
This article highlights the importance of plants. We interact with plants in our day-to-day lives. However, many of us have never taken time to understand or appreciate the significant roles that plants play in our lives. Read More…
There are many reasons why plants are important for us but here we have presented 10 most important reasons.
Almost all people and animals rely on plants for food. Plants are also sources of several nutrients that are need by man, for example, vitamins and proteins. Plant roots absorb minerals from the soil. When the plants are consumed, people get these minerals which usually have great nutritional value and are important for life and metabolic processes that occur naturally in the body.
It is estimate that rice, maize and wheat plants provide more than half of the food intake globally. Plants are consider to be at the bottom of the food chain because they convert inorganic molecules into organic matter, providing food for the other organisms.
There are several plants that have medicinal value. Research in this area is still ongoing as plants with medicinal value continue to be discover. For example, quinine is a drug that we get from the Cinchona plant, and it has antimalarial activity.
Herbal extracts from several plants including Aloe Vera have been shown to promote overall body health. The Neem tree, which grows in the tropical regions of the world, has activity against over forty diseases and infections. It has been estimated that twenty-five percent of prescription drugs are direct plant products or derivatives.
Plants are the habitat or natural home of several animals, which otherwise would not exist. This is one of the reasons why plants are essential. Some of the animals whose habitat is plants are tourist attractions and others play an indispensable role in the ecosystem.
Plants also support the lives of insects, worms and other organisms. Destruction of plants should, therefore, be avoided because it can lead to the extinction of a lot of endangered species.
Plants play a very important role in regulating the climatic conditions on the planet so as to ensure they are conducive for human life. For example, plants consume carbon dioxide and in turn release oxygen into the atmosphere through the process of respiration.
Oxygen is the part of the air that human beings need for metabolic processes in the body, and plants help to maintain sustainable levels of oxygen in the environment. On the other hand, the reduction of the levels of carbon dioxide by plants is beneficial since an increase can lead to the greenhouse effect and global warming.
In drought-stricken areas, forestation, which is the increase of forest cover, has been shown to increase rainfall. Plants also decrease pollutants in the environment, which is in turn good for the climate. For these and other reasons, plants are very important in fighting climate change.
Plants provide a lot of industrial products. Examples are furniture and papers from trees, linen from cotton, and perfumes, rubber and cosmetics from several other plants.
A lot of other industrial products are derive from plants, for example, plastics, soaps, shampoos and lubricants. The past two decades have seen the cropping up of industrial tree plantations around the world. These are areas where trees are grown purely for commercial and industrial purposes. Canada is one of the biggest wood exporters in the world, producing 31 billion kilograms of wood annually.
Plants have aesthetic value, as they add beauty to the environment. It is common to see gardens being planted in homes and public places to make the general appearance of the place more attractive. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are a major tourist attraction and they have been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Plants and trees have also provided some of the most scenic, awe-inspiring and captivating landscapes in the world. Additionally, flowers from various plants are used on special occasions because of their beauty.
7) SOIL QUALITY
Plants prevent soil erosion which is the removal of the top layer of soil by agents such as wind and flowing water. This is because the roots of plants hold the soil together, preventing it from being eroded.
Plants, especially trees, also reduce the speed of the wind, which is a major agent of erosion. Landslides, mudslides and similar catastrophes are also less likely to occur in areas with ample vegetation.
When plants die or when their leaves fall off, they decompose and add nutrients to the soil. Plants also conserve moisture in the soil by providing shade. All in all, the presence of plants is associated with an increase in soil quality.
Plants are a source of fuels. Examples of such fuels are ethanol from corn and sugarcane, biodiesel from vegetable oils and green diesel from various plant sources. Some of the advantages of bio-fuels include their renewability and relatively cheap cost. The use of bio-fuels is also environment-friendly since greenhouse emissions are low, and they are associate with a low carbon footprint.
9) WATER CYCLE
Plants play a significant role in the water cycle. Water from below the earth’s surface is brought to the atmosphere through a process known as transpiration that occurs in plants.
It is also important to note that plants detoxify water and support marine ecosystems by adding oxygen to water and providing food to marine life.
10) GENERAL WELL-BEING
The presence of plants usually has therapeutic effects. Studies have shown that the presence of plants reduces stress and anxiety while improving mood. It is, therefore, no wonder that people really enjoy hiking and going for retreats in forested areas.
Exercise in areas that are rich in plant life has been proved to be more beneficial for physical and mental well-being compared to exercise done indoors or in several other environments.
The importance of plants in our lives cannot be underestimated, and therefore, there is a great need for the conservation of the plants. Indeed, plants are a very significant component of the ecosystem and experts have concluded that we could not exist without them. The benefits of plants can be see in all spheres of human life including socioeconomic benefits and benefits for the environment. They fulfill our food, fodder fuel, timber, fiber and medicinal needs these needs are clearly tell us about the importance of plants.